I am fascinated by technological developments, combined with 'real' applications

Dr. Jeanine Prompers, employee

Associate professor Biomedical Engineering

nl

"When I started at the Department of Biomedical Engineering, I stepped right in the middle of a developing faculty. My start was quite unique: a new group, an environment with many young scientists, the opportunity to start my own research group and a good chance of tenure. What more could you want! I do research in the field of type 2 diabetes. The risk factors for getting type 2 diabetes are fairly well known. But what we do not know, however, is what exactly goes wrong in, for example, the muscle cells of the body. That is what we research and with the information we acquire, we hope to develop new methods of prevention and therapy in the future."

"We use modern technology for our research. With the help of advanced MRI techniques, we study the metabolism in muscle in vivo (in the living organism), with all facets that affect the muscles. When I started at the TU/e, I worked with one doctoral student on the research. Today, there are five. That gives us space to expand the research into other areas. Now, we don't only study the skeletal muscles in diabetic patients, but the heart as well."

Learning from experience
"I've acquired tenure as an associate professor from my Tenure Track. For that, you need to meet certain conditions, including satisfactory academic output and bringing in funding for research. A record-BKO (Basic Teaching Qualification) is also part of the criteria. The faculty supports me in my personal and professional development. I took a universitary course to support my personal development. I still get together on a regular basis with the peer group of that course. You learn a lot from each other's experiences. It is good  to reflect periodically on your career and discuss issues you run into in your work with peers."

Campus feel
"In my current research I am fascinated by technological developments, combined with 'real' applications. For the application part of the research we are working closely with the Máxima Medical Centre Veldhoven, Maastricht University and the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam. I find the students of Biomedical Engineering another source of inspiration. They are broadly educated, independent students. I teach a Minor and a Master course, and am in charge of a case during the design-oriented education for first year BMT students. In that case, I tutor a group of freshmen. Just like in the research, you are given space to put your mark on the material, as well as relate the lessons to your own research. What I also like about the TU/e as a work environment is the compact campus. All faculties are closely together and the terrain has many features, including a sports centre, childcare and a restaurant. This gives it a real 'campus feel'."

In balance
"In addition to being a scientist, I am also a mother of two sons. Both children were born during my time at the TU/e. The TU/e offers excellent facilities in this area. Besides maternity leave, I've also taken parental leave. The children have been at the TU/e campus day-care 'De TUimelaar'. Although sometimes things get hectic, a scientific career and taking care of a family are easily combinable. I regularly work on weekends or evenings, but my job also offers enough flexibility if I have to leave early. I am glad, however, that I had my children early in my academic career. At a later moment, a longer period of absence would be harder to fill in. I also think it's important to have a good social safety net, where I can fall back on in unexpected circumstances."